Bootnotes

Wannabe W1 DOW-er faked car crash to track down reg plate's owner

Bristol man ordered to pay over £600 for data protection offence

By Rebecca Hill

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A man from Bristol, England, lied to a government agency to get his hands on a private number plate reading "W1 DOW", a court has heard.

In a hearing at Bristol Magistrates' Court, Miles Savory – director of Accident Claims Handlers – yesterday pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining the personal information of the plate's owner, Stephen Bastow.

According to The Bristol Post, Savory admitted to fabricating a crash in order to get Bastow's address.

In a brazen attempt to contact the owner, Savory falsely told the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that a car bearing the plate W1 DOW had been involved in a collision and failed to stop.

On obtaining the owner's details from the agency, Savory wrote to Bastow asking if he fancied parting with the plate. But Bastow was suspicious as to how the claims man had figured out his address and asked the DVLA to investigate.

When the DVLA realised the claim was false, it handed the case over to the UK's data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office.

The court fined Savory £335 and ordered him to pay costs of £364.08 plus a victim surcharge of £33 – meaning his exploits cost him more than £700.

For about half that price, he could have legally got his hands on any number of plates that nearly spell "widow" – for instance, W121 DOW – and saved himself the trip to court.

Indeed, Savory's solicitor, Daniel Woodman, said that his client was "genuinely remorseful, very embarrassed and very sorry". ®

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